Pivot to Asia
By Isaac Cohen*
President Barack Obama is doing better in Asia than in any other parts of the world. Last week, after the setback of his own Democratic Party in the elections, President Obama carried out a one week visit to Asia.
The week started in Beijing, with the summit of 21 members of the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation Forum and a bilateral visit to China. This last produced a major result in the form of an agreement between China and the United States to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, with an additional commitment by China to increase the utilization of renewable energy sources.
By the end of the week, after a bilateral visit to Myanmar, President Obama participated in the summit of the Group of Twenty, in Brisbane, Australia. As background to the summit, the slow but sustained US economic recovery contrasted with Japan again in recession and the European Union slowly pulling out of another one. Additionally, on international trade, particularly in the ongoing negotiations with Asia and Europe, President Obama’s hand has been strengthened by the electoral victory of the Republican Party. Because authorization from Congress is required to negotiate those trade agreements, there may be bipartisan consensus on granting such authorization to the President.
Finally, without visible progress, the participation in both summits of Russian President Vladimir Putin, despite his early departure from Brisbane, made the tension in Ukraine the main topic in several bilateral encounters.
*International analyst and consultant. Commentator on economic and financial issues for CNN en Español TV and radio. Former Director, UNECLAC.